Guard unit honored as Grand Marshals

Published 9:06 pm Thursday, June 24, 2010

Members of the 900th Maintenance Company of the Alabama National Guard based in Brundidge will be the Grand Marshals of the 2010 Independence Day Parade in Brundidge on Saturday, June 26.

Rue Botts, parade chair, said the 900th will be deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in August and the Brundidge Business Association, the parade sponsoring organization, wanted to honor the soldiers as a way of showing the community’s appreciation for their dedication and service to country.

“This will not be the first time that the 900th has been deployed in defense of freedom around the world,” Botts said. “We hope that everyone will come out Saturday and show them how much we appreciate them as we celebrate our country’s independence.”

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The parade will begin at 9 a.m. and take a downtown route through Brundidge.

Sgt. Kenny Lee of the Alabama National Guard said 170 soldiers from the 900th will be deployed to Afghanistan.

“The unit is made up of soldiers from all over the state,” he said. “We’ll have members from as far away as Mobile and Huntsville. When the 900th got this mission, we had 27 soldiers who had been crossleveled to five units so we’ll have to backfill to bring the unit to full strength.”

Due to medical issues and family issues, Lee said the 900th will probably need 40 soldiers crossleveled to the unit for this mission.

“The 900th will report to the National Guard Armory in Brundidge on August 8 and be there for about three days and then leave for Camp Atterbury in Indiana for training,” he said.

“The until will be there for about a month before being deployed to Afghanistan.”

Lee said the mission of the 900th will be in logistics.

“The unit will be driving heavy-duty trucks that are designed to haul 32-tons of cargo,” he said.

“The trucks will haul water, food, ammunition, equipment, medical supplies and wherever else is needed. This will be a dangerous mission because the soldiers will be outside a secured area.”

Lee said the 900th will be responsible for the security for its convoys and 40 soldiers will be specially trained for the MRAPs, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected.

“These are gun trucks that are armored up and with a machine gun nest on the platform,” he said.

“They’ll have a lot of firepower. Every time a convoy goes out, there will be two of these gun trucks providing security.”

The 900th will be deployed for one year and should return home in August 2011.